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Person keyness status


KEYNESS identifies whether or not a person was a member of a MEPS household at the time of their NHIS interview. This includes anyone who was included in the NHIS interview, or who was a member of the NHIS household at the time of the NHIS interview, but was out of scope due to institutionalization, military service, or living outside of the United States. Newborns who were born after the NHIS interview are also included as Key.


A person is non-key if they joined a MEPS household after the time of NHIS interview (e.g. through marriage). These non-key persons will be included in the MEPS interviews as long as they are inscope, however, if they leave the household unaccompanied by a Key person, they will not be followed.

KEYNESS is not round specific, but, instead is set at the time the person enters MEPS, and KEYNESS status never changes.

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These variables are completely comparable over time.


  • 1996-2021: All persons.


  • 1996-2021



This variable has no flags.